Derby defeat for Forfar following lacklustre show against Brechin

Pic credit Christopher Coutts.
Pic credit Christopher Coutts.

Forfar Athletic’s unbeaten home record ended with a whimper as derby rivals Brechin City left Station Park with the bragging rights.

Goals from Jamie Masson and Alan Trouten ensured a 2-0 win for City, and a miserable start to 2015 for the Loons.

The defeat, just their third in the league all season, leaves Forfar three points behind League One leaders Stranraer, albeit with a game in hand, ahead of this weekend’s clash at Stair Park.

Dick Campbell made just one change to the side that drew 1-1 with Airdrieonians two weeks previously, Omar Kader coming in for Martyn Fotheringham as Jim Paterson played his last game for the hosts.

New signing Michael Travis had to settle for a place on the bench.

In front of a stunning crowd of 1,110 people there were early chances for Gavin Swankie and Michael Dunlop, but both players saw their efforts narrowly miss the post.

Forfar skipper Swankie had the ball in the net minutes later but the referee had given a foul against Dunlop.

City were dangerous on the break right from the kick-off though and they took the lead on 12 minutes, Bobby Barr bursting through the Loons’ defence onto a miscued header from Mark Baxter.

The speedy star got to the byline before sending in a dangerous cross, the ball falling to Masson who stabbed the ball past Rab Douglas on his last appearance for Brechin before returning to parent club Aberdeen.

And the visitors’ top scorer Trouten could have made it two shortly after, but the forward fired wide from Barr’s cross - the dimunitive winger was causing Forfar’s defence all kinds of bother with his searing pace.

Forfar’s best chance of a leveller appeared to be from a set piece, with top scorers Swankie and Dale Hilson continuing to show something of a malaise in front of goal.

That leveller almost came from Dunlop, who fired wide with a decent headed effort following a corner.

Former Loon Fusco enjoyed a great game in midfield for the away side and almost sent the visiting fans into raptures when he fired just wide from outside the box.

Douglas had to be alert just before the break when Paul McLean took a pop from long range, the goalie equal to the effort.

Paterson went close from outside the box shortly after the restart, firing a lovely effort to the back post following Mark Baxter’s lay-off, but Graeme Smith held the strike.

Dunlop went close from another header before Swankie’s 56th minute shot was blocked by the defence, young midfielder Scott Smith failing to convert from the follow-up.

Douglas then had to make a fine double save from Andy Jackson and Craig Wighton, with the latter a constant threat to Forfar’s defence.

Darren Dods almost equalised from Smith’s corner but the centre half saw his effort fly just over the bar.

Swankie played Hilson through with a stunning pass with the outside of his right foot but the young striker couldn’t control the ball and Brechin cleared comfortably.

The pair combined again shortly after, Swankie seeing his strike deflected wide before Hilson fired wide from Paterson’s throw-in.

Gavin Malin, Martyn Fotheringham and Chris Templeman were brought on as the hosts looked to restore parity but they couldn’t force an equaliser, despite improving Forfar’s play.

And Trouten made sure of the three points with less than 10 minutes remaining, sliding the ball under Douglas after Wighton did superbly well to get the ball into the penalty area.

Stephen Husband then saw his speculative effort from 40 yards narrowly go over Smith’s bar before the referee blew full time.

Forfar travel to Stranraer on Saturday and will hope to get a positive result and keep pace in the title battle.

Forfar Athletic (4-4-2): Douglas; Baxter, Dunlop, Dods, Paterson; Kader (Templeman, 65), Smith (Malin, 76), Husband, Denholm; Swankie, Hilson (Fotheringham, 79).

Subs not used: Salmon, Malcolm, Travis, Dale

BRECHIN CITY (4-4-1-1): Smith; McLean, McCormack, McLauchlan, Hamilton; Trouten (Ferguson, 90), Fusco, Masson (Molloy, 65), Barr; Wighton (Thomson, 90); Jackson.

Subs not used: Tough, McNeil, Cameron, Jackson